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MP To Take Legal Action Against WASA

TABAQUITE Member of Parliament Anita Haynes plans to take legal action against the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) over the dilapidated condition of the roadway leading to Caratal Sacred Heart RC Primary School.

The landslide in that area is being blamed on a leaking pipeline.

‘We’ve done enough letters, we’ve done enough talking. We will take civil action in the court and we will go forward from there because, other than that, they will not be held accountable,’ Haynes said.

She was speaking during protest action, by parents of pupils, on the roadway leading to the school yesterday.

Due to the condition of the road, the pupils have not been able to access the school. The teachers have had to be transported, since the re-opening of the new school term, through the use of a residents’ 4×4 vehicles.

‘How is it that WASA can get away with decades of excuses over a leaky line. I understand that they keep asking for estimates of the damage that is being done, but you can see it.

‘I have already made the commitment with the residents who live here that we will take up civil legal action against WASA for this particular roadway because enough is enough,’ Haynes said.

She added there had been a continuous set of excuses between WASA and the Ministry of Works, and that the blame game needed to cease.

‘The Ministry of Works keeps mentioning that this is a secondary road and this is under the responsibility of the corporation. If you take a look at the extent of the work and the million-dollar allocation to the Couva/Tabaquite/ Talparo Regional Corporation verses the billion-dollar allocation to the Ministry of Works, what makes sense?

‘Doesn’t it make sense that you do proper rehabilitation here and then allow the CTTRC to do the maintenance after?’ she asked.

She further said she had raised the issue of the road in Parliament in the past, adding that while there are other access points to the school these, too, are riddled with landslides.

Pupils came out in their uniforms and school bags on their backs, ready for school yesterday.

The teachers have not been able to drive their vehicles to the school; and while they have tried parking their cars and walking down to the school, they risk skidding and hurting themselves. The pupils could face the same fate. It is an issue that was highlighted in the media back in January.

Teachers not protesting

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) Martin Lum Kin said the teachers had not engaged in protest action, but had been taking steps to report to duty.

He added, ‘Our teachers want to teach. They want to do what they are being paid to do. However, if their safety in arriving to the school is compromised, they have to take steps to keep themselves safe in order to be able to survive the route.’

He, however, added that a resident’s gesture of transporting the teachers for free could not be a permanent fixture for its members.

Lum Kin was adamant TTUTA will not support any online engagement without a clear-cut policy.

‘The school has had online engagement previously, and the history is such that the students are having problems with accessing

the Internet and a number of the students do not log on, and so effective teaching and learning cannot to take place at this time… TTUTA will not encourage the online in this school and other schools,’ he said.

He added TTUTA is engaged in dialogue with the Ministry of Education to have a policy on online engagement. ‘We have not completed that process and signed off and, in the absence of that policy, we cannot say we will support an ad-hoc online engagement.’

Please help, PM

Head of the school’s parent- teacher association Derrel Henry said the children used to have the public bus as a mode of transport, but this has since stopped working in the area due to the condition of the road.

He also said the road condition has led to a fare change by private drivers-from $5 or $6, to $25-to reach to the school. ‘That is unfair to parents to pay that money for their child to go to school,’ he said, but he added that the drivers have also complained of damage to their cars from traversing the area.

Henry, who has a son in Standard One at the school, said ambulances and fire tenders will have difficulties reaching the school, should there be an emergency, and that garbage collection has also been an issue in the area.

Parent Marissa Pavy pleaded for help from the powers that be. ‘Prime Minister, come out and help we. We living in the countryside, but children come out good here, too. Ministry of Works, help we. Councillor, help we. Help we, please, I begging. Please support we. It’s nothing to do with politics, we just need it for we children and for the residents up here. We is human beings.’

The Express reached out to WASA, but a response was not received up to last night. 

No photo description available.

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